Health experts urge federal leaders to commit to national pharmacare

Open letter signed by more than 1,200 experts in medicine, pharmacy, nursing, economics, and law

Eric Hoskins, chair of the Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare, speaks during a news conference at the National Press Theatre in Ottawa on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

More than 1,200 Canadian health care and public policy experts have signed an open letter to federal party leaders, calling on each of them to commit to implementing a national pharmacare system.

They say comprehensive public medication programs have improved access and reduced costs everywhere they’ve been implemented and want to keep national pharmacare from becoming a partisan issue.

The group of experts from across the country includes professors of medicine, pharmacy, nursing, economics, political science and law — many of them recognized as leaders in their fields.

They note that, since the 1960s, five separate national commissions have concluded that universal pharmacare would be the fairest and most affordable way to ensure universal access to necessary medicines in Canada.

Steve Morgan of the University of BC says he believes an actual program has not yet materialized in part because industry stakeholders who stand to lose billions in revenue have waged a concerted lobby over the years to prevent it from happening.

“Part of the reason for having so many experts in an academic environment sign a letter of this nature is to remind Canadians that Canadian experts who are independent of stakeholders that might benefit from the status quo are consistently on side with moving forward,” Morgan said.

RELATED: Expert panel recommends Canada implement single-payer pharmacare plan

“(We are) trying to send a signal that if a government moves forward with this recommendation, experts will support them.”

The letter urges all parties to put a plan to implement a national drug program in their campaign platforms and to follow through with those plans. It says the issue has been studied at length, and calls for immediate action, beginning in 2020.

They are endorsing the model proposed by an expert panel, led by former Ontario health minister Dr. Eric Hoskins, that recently studied the issue and delivered recommendations to the Trudeau government for a phased-in rollout of a national drug plan.

Such a plan would result in savings of an approximately $5 billion annually, an average of $350 a year for each family, the panel concluded.

Teresa Wright, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Retired Nanoose Bay teacher ‘Set for Life’ after $675K lottery win

Shannon plans to buy new sails for his sailboat

Country music star Aaron Pritchett back in Qualicum Beach to play benefit concert

Singer to headline Thalassa restaurant fundraiser for Ronald McDonald house

Qualicum school district sees utility costs go down

Capital funding opportunities promote clean energy and drive efficiencies

Order in the chambers: Qualicum Beach votes for council code of conduct

Coun. Robert Filmer’s motion passes unanimously at town meeting

Rainbow crosswalk in Qualicum Beach covered in mysterious black substance

‘It was disappointing to see this act of disrespect take place inside our community’

B.C. sockeye returns drop as official calls 2019 ‘extremely challenging’

Federal government says officials are seeing the same thing off Alaska and Washington state

Expanded support to help B.C. youth from care attend university still falling short

Inadequate support, limited awareness and eligibility restrictions some of the existing challenges

Ethnic media aim to help maintain boost in voting by new Canadians

Statistics Canada says new Canadians made up about one-fifth of the voting population in 2016

Cross-examination begins for B.C. dad accused of killing young daughters

Andrew Berry is charged in the deaths of six-year-old Chloe and four-year-old Aubrey in 2017

Dog attacked by river otters, Penticton owner says

Marie Fletcher says her dog was pulled underwater by four river otters in the Penticton Channel

BC SPCA overwhelmed with cats, kittens needing homes

Large number of cruelty investigations, plus normal ‘kitten season’ to blame

Wife charged in husband’s death in Sechelt

Karin Fischer has been charged with second-degree murder in the death of her husband, Max

B.C. Hydro applies for rare cut in electricity rates next year

Province wrote off $1.1 billion debt to help reverse rate increase

Most Read